Tim Conneally

Skype: Please don't force 7-inch tablet users into landscape mode for video chats, it's dumb

Yesterday, Skype released the tablet-optimized Skype 3.0 for Android, bringing not only support for larger screen sizes, but also the new SILK audio codec which promises improved audio fidelity over previous versions of the application.

After testing it for the last 24 hours, we can say it's a smooth app and we haven't experienced any significant problems with it. Except one, and it's simultaneously a big deal and a stupid little detail.

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Norton Mobile Security now supports both Android and iOS

Symantec today released Norton Mobile Security 3.2, the latest version of the flagship Norton security software for Android and iOS devices.

It's been just about a year since we last looked at Norton Mobile Security, and in that time, a number of new features have been added.

It still contains the remote lock and wipe, call and SMS blocking, SD card scanning, and remote geolocation features it included previously, but now it also includes multi-device (cross platform) support with a single license, contact list backup and restore, a "scream alarm" for finding a lost phone, and web-based management.

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Panorama9 adds Mac patch management to new cloud IT service

Cloud IT management platform Panorama9 on Tuesday introduced Mac patch management to its pay-as-you-go solution, unifying Windows and Mac OS patch deployment in its IT dashboard.

We first looked at Panorama9 in October when the company added Mac and Linux support to its contract-free asset and compliance management platform. The service itself is still very new, and is rapidly growing its functionality in the interest of providing small and medium sized businesses affordable cloud IT services.

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Passwords Plus cross-platform password manager finally comes to Android

DataViz Inc. on Monday launched Passwords Plus on the Android Platform, making Android the fourth platform for the password management software behind Windows, Mac OS, and iOS.

The functionality of this app should be quite clear from its name. Over in our Fileforum, we have literally hundreds of this type of application for Windows, Mac, and Linux-based platforms, and they all conveniently have "Password" in the name. There should be no surprises.

Passwords Plus is available for smartphones running Android 2.1 and up, and it stores PINs, passwords and "other sensitive information" in 256-bit AES encryption, syncing between multiple devices and platforms. Data is synced via DataViz's secure cloud storage and SamePage technology.

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Cisco buys 'Networking-as-a-Service' pioneer Meraki for mid-market growth


Networking leader Cisco announced on Sunday evening its intent to acquire San Francisco-based cloud networking company Meraki Inc. Cisco will pay approximately $1.2 billion in cash and incentives to acquire Meraki, and the deal is expected to close in the second quarter of 2013.

Meraki's portfolio of technologies includes a broad range of networking solutions, including mesh Wi-Fi, switching, security, and cloud-based mobile device management which currently target midmarket companies. In other words, companies with annual revenues between $100 million and $1 billion. In the United States, this market segment is made up of approximately 200,000 companies, and it is looked at as a growth market for tech infrastructure providers.

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The cloud ate my homework: Why I plan to use more physical backups instead of fewer

This week was big for consumer cloud storage services, Dropbox passed 100 million users, Box rolled out an overhauled Android app, while Microsoft's SkyDrive got new selective sync and simpler sharing functionality.

In addition to all of the news, I had one of those personal moments where cloud storage kind of saved my ass this week. But where the cloud helped me immensely, it didn't save everything.

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Cloud marketing and sales software Seismic launches on Windows 8

Enterprise content management application Seismic launched in the Windows 8 app store today, bringing Microsoft's new operating system its cloud-based method of managing branded marketing and sales materials in a single, touchable interface.

Seismic began its life under the name Nu:Pitch last year, and was originally a somewhat humble Powerpoint application that could pull data from Microsoft CRM Dynamics, Salesforce, and other libraries so presentations with live business intelligence could be completely portable.

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Portrait Professional 11 offers even better ways to fix your ugliness

Anthropics Technology Ltd. on Wednesday pushed out a major update to its Portrait Professional "airbrushing" software, including new touch-up functionality, better handling of multiple faces in a single image, new face modeling and 3D skin processing, and much more.

There are a lot of solutions available to the consumer looking to gently touch-up photographs. Some are built into smartphones, some are available as freeware, some are available as plug-ins to common desktop software. It's all kid's stuff compared to Portrait Professional.

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Nokia provides the 'Here' to Google's 'Now'

Nokia's mapping and location-based services experience on Windows Phone is nothing short of excellent. Today, Nokia introduced the new brand for its geospatial, navigation, and location services, simply called "Here," which wraps up all of its services into a single cross-platform "location cloud."

This new brand will bring the Nokia mapping experience to Android some time in early 2013, including both a reference app and an SDK that allows developers to tie the new mapping service into their own applications. Nokia said that the augmented reality search technology first shown off in Nokia City Lens will be available in Here as a service called LiveSight.

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Creating mobile sites for small businesses is now as simple as buying an iPhone app

Mobile app stores and in-app purchasing functionality have revolutionized the video game industry by shrinking content into tiny doses and making their purchase and consumption effortless. Today, UK-based company Telnames announced it has taken that idea and applied it to mobile website design. With a mobile application, small businesses can buy domain names and build a mobile website in a matter of minutes without having to worry about registrars and hosting agreements. It might sound crazy at first, but it's kind of brilliant.

The idea behind Telnames Mobile Website Builder app is that it strips out all the steps that make website creation a hassle for businesses that don't have a Web developer on staff. Telnames says this is more common than you might think. More than half of all small businesses in the United States don't even have a website to speak of, much less one that is optimized for mobile devices.

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Microsoft releases Skype for Windows Phone 8 preview

Microsoft's premier VoIP, chat, and video call software Skype has received updates across the board for the new generation of Windows products. Monday, Microsoft released a new preview build of Skype for Windows Phone 8, following up on the app's announcement two weeks ago.

The new preview build includes all of the basic Skype functionality: free Skype-to-Skype voice calls over 3G and Wi-Fi, group instant messaging, free video calls to other Skype Users, and outbound Skype dialing.

Caveat from Microsoft: “Some capabilities listed…are work-in-progress and may not function consistently. This includes, but is not limited to: call reliability and the ability to receive incoming calls and chat notifications when outside of the app.”

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UpTo social calendar app quietly debuts on Android

Detroit-based social calendar app startup UpTo quietly launched in Google Play, slipping slightly under the public radar onto the Android Platform.

The application was designed to pull information from user calendars and present it in a way that is useful to shaping plans. That means it begins at the present and looks forward at what's coming up, rather than at what's already happened. It's sort of like Plancast, but less focused on events and more focused on individuals and groups.

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USA's first pay-by-app commuter trains launch in Massachusetts

Monday, the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA) launched what it claims is the first smartphone-based ticketing system for commuter rail in the United States. Riders of four different MBTA commuter lines can buy tickets in the MBTA mTicket app for Android and iOS, and ticket collectors aboard the trains can scan the barcode displayed on the user's screen.

MBTA's claims of being the first in the USA with this technology are a bit overstated. In July, Amtrak launched eTicketing on all of its train lines, which allows users to purchase tickets and have their phone scanned to check in. The difference here is that MBTA's is app-based and includes ticket sales inside the app, which Amtrak doesn't have. Other regional transit systems are testing such things as pay-by NFC, but these are currently only small deployments.

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Verizon Wireless puts Nokia Lumia 822 and HTC 8X on sale tonight (at a higher price than AT&T)

Verizon Wireless will begin taking orders for the HTC Windows Phone 8X, Nokia Lumia 822, and the Samsung ATIV Odyssey at 1:00 a.m. Eastern Time tonight.

According to Verizon Wireless:

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Egypt moves ahead with ban on Internet porn

Egyptian Attorney General Dr. Abdel Meguid Mahmoud has sent the official request to ban pornographic websites in Egypt, according to Egyptian state newspaper Al-Ahram Wednesday. Mahmoud sent letters to Egypt's Minister of Communications and Information Technology, to the head of the National Telecommunications Regulatory Authority, and to the Ministers of the Interior and Information, demanding that sites "inconsistent with the values ​​and traditions of the Egyptian people and higher state interests" be blocked.

This ban on Internet porn stems from a 2009 State Council Administrative Court case that called for a government ban on sites harboring material deemed offensive to traditional Islamic beliefs. In March of this year, the court ruled that Internet porn "destroy[s] all religious beliefs, ethics and moral values," and that a ban should be put in place.

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